Crispy baked Vegan Lentil Meatballs tossed in a creamy Indian Curry Masala Sauce, and served over mashed Potatoes – These meat-less balls are simple, healthy, protein-rich and easy to make gluten-free!
Vegan Lentil Meatballs in Indian Curry Sauce Recipe
What was your favorite comfort food when you were a kid? Honestly, I’ve always been a big fan of homemade meatballs which are marinated in a creamy sauce, however, the vegan version is as delicious! I can still remember enjoying them with spaghetti and tomato sauce next to my best friend while we felt like “Lady and the Tramp”, haha!
Anyway, I‘ve already shared a meat-free version of this classic and popular pasta dish here on the blog. Spaghetti with meatballs and tomato sauce was even one of the first meals I’ve ever tried to make vegan but the no-meat balls came out perfectly! For the real beef, I substituted plant-based beans and I also omitted the eggs. I just added some breadcrumbs and a little bit of oat flour which helps to hold the mixture together!
And after my vegan meatballs made with black beans, I made a second batch with kidney beans followed by another no-meat balls recipe version with chickpeas. Anyway, I can’t leave out a recipe with protein-packed lentils. So this is my take using red lentils which goes perfectly with Indian flavors!
Indian Curry Tikka Masala Sauce
Since I’m totally obsessed with Indian foods like my creamy lentil dal or a nourishing curry, I came up with the idea to serve these delicious vegan meatballs in a Masala Curry Sauce! The ingredients, Indian spices, and Oriental flavors are pretty similar to my vegan Cauliflower Tikka Masala but it’s just too good not to make it again!
Easy Vegan Lentil Meatballs Recipe
This lentil meatballs recipe is simple, requiring just a few simple vegan ingredients! You can cook dried lentils ahead of time if you prefer or use up leftover cooked lentils. I used red lentils but also yellow or brown or green lentils are fine.
Further ingredients are sautéed onion, garlic, tomato paste, Indian spices, salt, pepper, and some breadcrumbs. But don’t worry if you’re a gluten-free eater because you can easily substitute gluten-free oat flour or almond flour.
How to make Vegan Lentil Meatballs
Just mash the cooked lentils and the remaining ingredients roughly with a fork or pulse a few times in a food processor. Then form the mixture into balls and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes until they’re golden brown and crispy!
What to serve with Vegan Meatballs?
While the no-meat lentil balls bake, prepare the mashed potatoes and the Indian Curry Tikka Masala Sauce or other accompaniments you like. You can pretty much serve anything with lentil meatballs, as they are very versatile! You could also toss them in vegan cheese sauce, creamy sweet potato sauce, hearty mushroom sauce or simple tomato sauce.
What to serve with Indian Curry Sauce?
I think rice like basmati or brown rice and naan bread or Paratha is the most popular Indian side dish for Masala Curry Sauce, however, I love to serve it with potato mash! Anyway, I bet also quinoa, millet, pasta or other grains as well as tortillas would be delicious so feel free to give it a try!
Finally, when the lentil meatballs are crispy baked and all of your sides are prepared, transfer the balls to the Indian curry masala sauce and stir to coat! Serve immediately over mashed potatoes or rice with naan bread on the side. I also like to garnish my meal with a swirl of coconut yogurt (or milk or cream). Then I top it with chopped fresh coriander and some sesame seeds for more oriental flavor!
These Vegan Lentil Meatballs are
- Meat-free & dairy-free
- Easy to make
- Soft & “meaty”
- So delicious
- Perfect for lunch, dinner, meal prep, as a side dish or appetizer!
Why you’ll love this recipe!
Even though this is not a traditional Indian recipe, it reminds a lot of Indian cuisines! So if you love flavorful and healthy recipes with Indian flavors, you should definitely try this one! These lentil meatballs are soft and tender from the inside but crispy from the outside! Once tossed in the rich and creamy Masala curry sauce, this dish tastes almost like the food at Indian restaurants!
How to freeze and store Vegan Meatballs + Make-ahead Tip!
You can prepare the unbaked lentil balls in advance. Either store them covered in the refrigerator for one day (to bake the next day). Or freeze the shaped balls unbaked or baked for up to 2 months. Then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook as instructed or reheat as mentioned in the recipe notes.
Looking for more vegan comfort food recipes? Make sure to check out my:
- Crispy Pumpkin Gnocchi
- Spinach Ravioli with Mushrooms
- Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
- Vegan Potato Bake
- Mushroom Wellington
- Creamy Pumpkin Soup
If you try this vegan Lentil Meatballs in Indian Curry Sauce Recipe, please leave me a comment below sharing how you liked it! And if you take a photo of your cozy dish and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking!
Lentil Meatballs in Indian Curry Sauce
- 1 cup dried red lentils 200g, or sub 3 cups precooked or canned
- 1 tbsp olive oil + more for brushing the balls
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp curry powder of choice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce
- ⅓ cup fresh coriander chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ¾ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper or to taste
- 4 tbsp breadcrumbs or sub (gluten-free) oat flour
Indian Curry Sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- ½ red bell pepper finely chopped (optional)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1-2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garam masala or curry powder
- 3 large ripe tomatoes diced, about 450g, or sub canned
- 1 cup water 120ml, or more to thin
- 1 cup coconut milk 240ml, full-fat, or other non-dairy milk, *see recipe notes
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar or sub other sugar to taste
- ½ tsp chili optional, to taste
- Add the lentils and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook according to the package instructions.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.
- To a food processor, add the cooked lentils, onions, garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, soy sauce, coriander, parsley, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined, but not puréed, leaving a little texture. Stir in the bread crumbs, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then set aside for 10 minutes or refrigerate overnight. (The mixture should be soft but not too sticky. If it’s still too wet after the resting time, add more breadcrumbs or oat flour.)
- Shape the mixture into balls with wet hands and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the balls with a little oil and bake for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.
Indian Curry Sauce
- In the meantime, prepare the mashed potatoes (or rice) and the curry sauce.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and garam masala and cook for another minute, or until fragrant. Then, add the chopped tomatoes, water, coconut milk, salt, sugar, and chili. Stir to combine and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender (or use a hand stick blender) and blend until creamy. Pour the creamy sauce back into the skillet and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings or add more water to thin as needed.
- To make these lentil meatballs gluten-free, substitute gluten-free oat flour. You can make this by processing gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or blender into flour. Alternatively, use a store-bought gluten-free flour blend or almond flour.
- I suggest using full-fat coconut milk or another rich non-dairy milk. If using lighter milk with higher water content the sauce won't be as creamy.
- Store leftover sauce and lentil meatballs separately in the refrigerator or the balls will get mushy. Reheat leftover lentil meatballs gently in the microwave or in the oven for a crispier result.
- Please read my blogpost for further information about this recipe (e.g. how to freeze the balls and make ahead tips)!
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